Something for the weekend: Dubbed ‘Freedom Day’, Monday (19 July) marks the end of all Covid-19 (Coronavirus)-related restrictions in England. But for many people, it’s also the day they say goodbye to Zoom calls in their pyjamas or an extra hour in bed as they head back to their usual place of work.
So are employees looking forward to the big return or will they be yearning for that additional time at home to spend with their children, pets or doing household chores that they’ve been enjoying since last March?
A new study by Office Furniture Online examined 531 UK workers’ attitudes towards heading back to the office, including what, if anything, they are looking forward to, as well as what they will miss most about working from home.
No tricky travelling topped the list of things people will miss, cited by nearly half (49%) of respondents, while 42% aren’t looking forward to an earlier alarm and 41% just want a bit of peace and quiet. A total of 28% cited working in their pyjamas and 26% said spending more time with their furry friends, while one in 10 (13%) will miss seeing other people’s pets poke their noses into Zoom calls.
In terms of what employees are most looking forward to ahead of their return, for 35% this was office gossip and banter, 31% answered after work socials including drinks and 18% noted big, collaborative meetings. Amusingly, 17% are happy about regaining access to perks such as free food and 14% want to escape their childcare responsibilities.
Mark Taylor, managing director of Office Furniture Online, commented that returning to the workplace will be a shock to the system and that the process mustn’t be rushed, with many employers setting out a phased return policy for employees to read so they are fully aware of the changes and what’s expected in terms of working days within the workplace.
“If you’re a business leader, consider making your staff feel welcome when they come back to the office, with a welcome basket, or a safety conscious team event like a BBQ or picnic. Ask them about their concerns, and how you can make the transition as easy as possible for them,” Taylor said.
Here at Employee Benefits, we are all for lounging about in our pyjamas and having a w(h)ine with our colleagues over team video calls until we can meet face to face once more and enjoy the freedom from restrictions. When we wake up next week ready for the journey to work we may have to train ourselves to get into the new routine and back on track. Just remember, you weren’t the only one to press snooze this morning.